Hello again! Welcome back to the Geek Equestrian for the Equine Rescue of Aiken’s account of a young Thoroughbred’s success story. We are pleased to introduce you to Coker Spring.
Coker is a dark bay gelding. He was foaled March 6, 2011, who had a short 6-race career on the track before he was retired with a fracture in his right front fetlock. This fracture, also known as a condylar fracture, is a common injury in racehorses that often requires long-term stall rest with a slow re-introduction to work, anti-inflammatory medications, and supportive bandages. Sometimes, screws can be utilized to stabilize the fracture, increasing its soundness, and decreasing healing duration. In Coker’s case, the decision was to operate and place screws in the joint to give him the best chance for a second career.
Fast forward 2 years to August 2016 and we see Coker Spring in a field with his buddies at the Equine Rescue of Aiken. He’s been hanging out at the rescue, post-surgery and rehabilitation, awaiting a chance to prove that he’s more than the stigma that surrounds his previous injury. With screws in his fetlock, a bleached coat, and a long time without consistent work, Coker Spring didn’t seem like much to the many adopters that passed him up. I’d like to tell you that Coker Spring met his adopter in a majestic, sauntering-over-a-hill-with-th
e-sunset-behind-him kinda way, but not this boy.
Coker Spring, now Beau, met his adopter as he was chomping at and swinging the lead rope attached to his rope halter. You see, Beau didn’t know that today was his lucky day to meet Maryann, an experienced horsewoman from New York newly settled in Aiken, SC. He had no idea that she was preparing a 40-acre farm just for him (OK, maybe a FEW other horses, too) with trails, rolling pastures, and his very own person! While Maryann had heard of and donated to the ERA prior to meeting Beau, she had not yet visited until she came to see if this horse would work for her. Something about Beau’s personality gently, and then vehemently, tugged on her heartstrings.
Now, Maryann understood the “risks” involved with a fracture, but she also understood that horses can completely recover from injuries if handled correctly. With the help of her neighbor, Kate Brown, Maryann began to ride and train Beau towards his first combined test. Then, in January of 2017, Beau and Maryann were hacking along when Beau suddenly spooked and galloped away. Maryann was unseated and lost a stirrup almost immediately. She was able to hang on for a while before she made an emergency dismount that resulted in a broken arm and the need for screws in her — you guessed it — right ankle. Deciding to not let this time impede Beau’s progress, Maryann signed Beau up for boot camp with Kate Brown and he began training 4 days per week.
When Maryann was healed and ready to begin working through the mental hurdles that resulted from the spook-and-gallop episode in January, she noticed that Beau’s demeanor had drastically changed. He was noticeably calmer, more willing, and even had an augmented willingness to learn. Maryann was ecstatic with his transformation and she wanted to enter him into his first Beginner Novice combined test scheduled for April. With Kate aboard, Beau rocked his test and earned the BLUE RIBBON with a 62-point score! Then, just a short month ago in November, Maryann was ready to lead Beau to the winner’s circle (pun intended) for herself. Although they just missed the blue ribbon in dressage, they took home second place with a 68.75-point score in their FIRST ever dressage test together! Go Maryann and Beau!!
Maryann took a chance on a horse that had been overlooked for 2 years. She took a risk that he may not be consistently sound enough to take her where she wanted to go. But, she felt that unbreakable connection with Beau that no one else could. Little did she know that this gelding would give her a glimpse into the life she had with her heart horse, a mare that eventually passed due to the effects of Cushing’s Disease. Both of these horses share a characteristic that Maryann has never noticed in another horse: each horse would scream for grain, pin its ears, and circle in the stall just before the grain was dropped. Maryann happily remembers her sweet mare at each feeding as the mare is reincarnated through Beau’s silly quirk.